BICENTENNIAL FESTIVITIES IN BENTON COUNTY, MO CELEBRATING 200 YEARS OF MISSOURI’S STATEHOOD!

Missouri is celebrating its 200th birthday in 2021 and Benton County, MO has unique festivities planned throughout the towns of Cole Camp, Lincoln and Warsaw.  The theme is Show Me Benton County and will be showcasing activities from the past, present and future, just like Missouri’s bicentennial theme.

Lynette Stokes, Executive Director of Benton County Tourism & Recreation says, “we are excited to offer residents and tourists unique activities celebrating Missouri’s Bicentennial, but also showcasing the unique activities and history of Benton County through the years.”


Celebrations are an important part of Cole Camp’s hometown history and they will be hosting an old-fashioned community picnic and activities for the entire family.  The purpose of this festival is to showcase Missouri’s current state symbols and celebrate the past by bringing back activities from the past.

The Ol’ Time Picnic in the Park will be held in Ezekiel Williams Park in Cole Camp on June 13th.  The event will include some of the activities that Missouri families enjoyed for many generations, including yard games for the kids and turtle race (as the three-toed box turtle is the state’s reptile).  There will be a horse shoe pitching tournament and focus will be put on the state animal, the Missouri Mule.  Brandy Von Holten, from Von Holten Ranch, will have a mule on hand for a program, demonstration and photo opportunities.

Plans also include a presentation by the Missouri Conservation Department on the state tree, the Hawthorn and the state flower, the Dogwood.  The state’s insect is the honey bee and a demonstration of a bee hive and program will be available.

What is an old fashioned picnic without old-fashioned square dancing, the state dance?  The Missouri Waltz is the state song and will be performed by a local dance teacher.  All this will be backed up by several local musicians performing on various instruments, including Travis Inman, widely recognized as a fiddle champion across the United States.  Hamburgers and hotdogs, channel catfish (the state fish) and homemade ice cream will be available for purchase. The event is free to the public and everyone is invited so bring your lawn chairs and come for an old-fashioned celebration.

Last, but not least, you don’t want to miss out on Cole Camp’s Churches Tour and German Christmas Concert on December 5th.  The churches tour was added as a unique tour to share the beautiful and historic country and small-town churches and the strong religious tradition that was found in the past and continues today.


Beautiful St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Cole Camp – one of the stops on the churches tour

Holy Cross Lutheran Church                      Immanuel Lutheran Church at Brauersville                         St John’s Lutheran Church

The tour is capped off in the evening with a German singing concert with traditional Christmas songs sung in German and Christmas story-telling done in both German and English languages.

The Cole Camp Museum offers a large collection of Civil War memorabilia and, in particular, the Battle of Cole Camp, which was one of the very earliest battles fought in Missouri, during the long and bloody conflict.

You can find more information on Cole Camp’s Bicentennial and annual events by visiting www.colecampmo.com.


Warsaw is hosting their Bicentennial Celebration on September 18th with festivities including the bi-annual Warsaw Junk Market, a parade featuring Transportation Through the Years, including horses and riders from the Broke and Busted Saddle Club, cars from the years past, present and more.  A car show hosted by Ozark Street Cars, a cornhole tournament hosted by Guardians of the Children and music on Main Street.

There will be a reception at the Benton County Museum from 4-6pm to showcase all of Benton County’s history through the years.  Warsaw’s Benton County Museum features exhibits of swinging bridges across the Osage River, as well as the importance of river travel in the development of Benton County and during the Civil War, the development of businesses and the 99 one-room schoolhouses across the county, and Fajen’s and Bishop’s companies which brought Warsaw’s claim to being “The Gunstock Capital of the World.”  PURCHASE ONLINE TICKETS NOW.

Twisted Fate will be performing live music from 6-9pm downtown on Main/Benton Streets with an old fashioned street dance.  Free and open to the public.

A ribbon cutting of the revised Warsaw Historic Tour will also be this day and a ribbon cutting of the new Benton County Barn Quilt Trail.  You can find more information about Warsaw’s celebration at www.welcometowarsaw.com/tourism.

MO Bicentennial Geoart to be released September 18, 2021 in conjunction with the Warsaw MO Bicentennial events.

A new GeoArt is being released in conjunction with the Warsaw Bicentennial Celebration.

Anyone interested in learning about geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) can go online to geocaching.com .

Those attending the breakfast will be given a head start before the GeoArt is published and have a greater chance of a FTF (first-to-find).

The art spells out MO.  There will be 2 events on Sept. 18, 2021.  A breakfast event at Drake Harbor Amphitheater will be the meeting point and a CITO (cash-in-trash-out) event in the afternoon.  More information will be released in June about both events along with GC (geocache) codes for events.

We are going to have a raffle for a geocaching lap quilt the day of the event.

Locations of solved puzzle caches are planned to be within a 5 mile radius of downtown Warsaw Missouri.  Warsaw will be hosting a bicentennial event that day also, so there will be food trucks and events close by if you want to enjoy those while here.

There will be approximately 27 new caches published making up the art and the art will look like this.

More information can be found at www.visitbentoncomo.com/Bicentennial.   CLICK ON THE MAP FOR DIRECTIONS/LOCATIONS.

Thank you to our sponsors:


Lincoln will be hosting a hot air balloon festival, carnival and fall market on October 1-2.  Included in the festivities will be a Balloon Glow on Friday evening at dusk and a dinner at the few remaining grass airstrip in Missouri.

The Saturday’s festivities will include Yoga in the Park, vendor booths up and down Main Street, a petting zoo and pony rides and food trucks.  Live music will be in the green space downtown and there is an old fashioned street dance and beer garden on Main Street in the evening.

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce will be selling raffle tickets for a limited edition 200th anniversary custom 45-70 lever action Henry Rifle (only 60 made), and raffling a balloon ride at sunrise on Saturday morning.

You can find more information by going to www.lincolnmochamberofcommerce.com.


Stokes says, “We wanted to celebrate Missouri’s birthday and Benton County’s past, present, and future with unique events in the hopes that we can attract new visitors to the area and celebrate our history and heritage.  The entire community has played a unified role in coming together to celebrate Missouri’s statehood”.

We are thankful for receiving the Bicentennial banner and flag from the Missouri Historical Society.  Photographed are members from each of the three towns who have been working to put on the unique celebrations of our history.Pictured left to right are Shelia Wilson (GeoArt), Steve Deleske (Presiding Commissioner), Dorcas Brethower (Lincoln Chamber of Commerce), Susan Kyle (Cole Camp Chamber of Commerce), Jo Ann Lane (Economic Developer), Jessi Kendall (City of Warsaw), Marsha Eaton (Benton County Historical Society), Amie Breshears (Benton County Extension Office), Lynette Stokes (Benton County Tourism & Recreation), Lindsey Decker (Lincoln Chamber of Commerce), Larry Berry (Commissioner), and John King (Mayor of Lincoln and Chamber of Commerce).  These are only a few of the people who are working hard to put on the Benton County Bicentennial festivities.

In addition to the festivities above, the Benton County Historical Society will be raffling a bicentennial quilt showcasing Benton County features.  You can purchase tickets by contacting the museum at 660-438-2304 or visiting their website at bentoncomo.org.

For information on all county-wide and bicentennial events, please go to www.visitbentoncomo.com.

All events are subject to change/cancellation due to the current pandemic and social distancing requirements by the State of Missouri.